Thursday, January 7, 2010


Many, many years ago, before Troy and I were a Papa and a Mama Builder, we were dreaming and scheming about our future together. While imagining our life together, when it was still a new idea that there was an us and that our futures would be together, Troy mentions that he wants to build a house. I heartily agree, not having the slightest understanding of what exactly I was agreeing to.

Fast forward about 8 years. We are now a Mama and a Papa with a toddler (but not builders yet) and we are looking for a place to live after returning from a year in China and having a baby. Papa convinces Mama with oh so much sensibility and rationality that building a house would be soooo much better than buying a house because we could have exactly what we want and buying a house to remodel would be just as much work after all. As I often am, I was completely swayed by the logic, the sensible rationale, the overall prudence of this approach.

And then, the clincher of the deal, our dream lot in a neighborhood we had lived in years before came up for sale. And, miracle of miracles, the price was affordable!

Here is a picture of all three of us with Oma visiting our lot in early summer of that year. Do you see how little E is? I'm not sure what I'm squinting at – perhaps a scarcely imaginable future I'm trying to get a better look at?

There was a moment of extreme panic on the part of me, the Mama Builder on the day we went to sign the papers to buy the lot. I sat in the car with my nursing toddler and tried to picture this life in the mountains out of town, building a house with my baby on my hip, spending all this money all at one time and I just couldn't muster the imagination for it. It sounded scary and difficult and I wasn't sure I was cut out for this life. Papa Builder once again assured me with irrefutable logic and reason and painted a beautiful picture of building a house as a family. I calmed down long enough to sign the papers. This was the summer of 2005. Here are Papa and Baby Builder at my birthday celebration at our lot in September, just a few weeks after signing on the dotted line:

Since that summer, I have dived in head first, learning the ropes of home design and construction; how to do it all with a baby on my hip, a preschooler toddling behind, or a big kid right in the middle of things; how to live in extremely varied circumstances with most of our things in storage; how to work in a male-oriented industry while (mostly) keeping my sanity.

Papa Builder has dreamed of building his own house since childhood. What keeps me going is the vision of a home for my family, a refuge, a place for creativity and growth.

Here's to moving in in 2010!


  1. You don't know how much I admire the 3 of you! What an amazing adventure as a family. Such a unique experience with rewards aplenty in so many different ways.

  2. Thank you so much, Julie. What kind words. I hope you also know something of how much I admire you and your family and the beautiful urban homesteading adventure you all are taking on.